Month: January 2011

ἐκαληθεύω: an ill-fitting prefix in Choeroboscus

By: | Post date: 2011-01-30 | Comments: 16 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek, Modern Greek
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The prepositions of Ancient Greek, which were also used as verbal prefixes, had a rich and subtle semantics. As is the doom of all linguistic subtleties, the system has not survived, and the couple of dozen prefixes of antiquity have collapsed to a handful in the modern vernacular. (How does Nikos Sarantakos put it? Οι […]

Pontic infinitive, real and imagined

By: | Post date: 2011-01-23 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , ,

I too noticed the breathless article in the Independent, right after New Year’s Day, on the discovery of a Greek dialect that is remarkably close to the extinct language of ancient Greece. The actual Independent article is not as over-the-top as the daft lead-in article, which has done the rounds through the world’s press. I […]

Markos Vamvakaris: Ο ισοβίτης, Final verse

By: | Post date: 2011-01-19 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , ,

The reason why I picked Markos Vamvakaris’ song Ο Ισοβίτης for my ruminations on hiatus is its last verse, with its startling macaronic juxtaposition: όπως τον Έκτορα ο Αχιλλεύς τον έσουρνε στο κάροLike Achilles dragging Hector in his cart The clash isn’t just thematic of course, it’s also linguistic: Hector and Achilles are solemnly invoked […]

Markos Vamvakaris: Ο ισοβίτης

By: | Post date: 2011-01-18 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , ,

We saw a couple of posts ago the rebetiko musician Markos Vamvakaris in the 1930s, being more subject to the phonology of Puristic than Greeks might now expect of a singer extolling the underworld. Such an expectation says more about the romantic notions fomented by centuries of diglossia, than it does about the linguistic realities […]

στήτη, a post-Homeric ghost word

By: | Post date: 2011-01-11 | Comments: 5 Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics
Tags: , ,

I posted in November about Leo Allatius, who coined a new word in the Greek literary corpus through a misreading of Pindar—or rather, perpetuating a mediaeval misreading of Pindar. But with the transmission of Classical literature as haphazard as it was, Allatius was not the only writer to have come up with such creative misreadings. […]

The hiatus of διαζύγιο “divorce”

By: | Post date: 2011-01-05 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek
Tags: , , ,

Eighty year old recordings of popular music should tell you, for a normal language, how that language has changed in the interim. And so it is for Greek, as I’m finding by listening to the collected recordings of Markos Vamvakaris, 1933–1937. The catch is, diglossia has meant Greek is not a normal language; and the […]

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  • January 2011
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